The cafe was quiet. Alex looked up from scribbling in her notebook.
"She knows you're here" the waitress smiled.
"Who?" Alex smiled back.
"Jo, the chef you are watching from behind your menu, the one who has had coffee with you the past three Friday's after your meal" Alex covered her eyes with one hand.
The waitress took Alex's order to Jo. Jo's eyes had barely left Alex since she arrived. The familiar knot of frustration was back in the waitress's stomach.
"What did she order?"
"Who?" Jo rolled her eyes. The waitress laughed.
"She's had that before, she must like it."
"Looks like Alex is not the only one taking notes"
"Alex so that's her name?"
"Jo, stop pretending you don't know. Ask her out, before she goes broke"
Jo shook her head, singing as she worked.
The waitress sighed.
"Take it over and ask her out Jo. I don't know why you haven't already. I can tell she likes you and I know you like her" Jo held out the plate, the waitress folded her arms.
Jo looked at the floor.
"What if she's with someone?"
"She's never brought the same person twice and they leave before coffee, she stays to have that with you"
"That doesn't mean anything" Jo felt a little warm flutter of hope.
"Jo, stop making excuses and get over there."
Jo took the plate and made her way over to Jo not taking her eyes off the plate. as she approached the table she took a deep breath.
Alex smiled when she saw Jo approaching.
"Your risotto madam" Jo put the plate on the table and sat down.
"I figured, you've had it before"
"You always this observant with your customers?"
"Just the special ones"
“So I’m special then, am I? Is that why I’m getting the personal service?”
“I think so.” Jo looked at the table.
“What are you writing anyway? You are always scribbling in that notebook of yours.”
“Just work stuff.” Alex shut the book and put it away.
“Can I see you away from here?”
“What did you have in mind Jo?”
“You’ve tasted my food; it’s only fair I taste yours.”
“You want me to cook for you, no pressure then”
“You up for the challenge?”
“Um. As it’s you, I’ll give it my best shot”
Alex stood up and got her things together.
“I have to get back to work. Call me if you still want me to cook for you after you read tomorrow’s paper”
Jo raised her eyebrows. Alex smiled and left her card on the table.
The card didn't give many clues. Alex Jefferson - freelance writer and a contact number.
Jo kept trying for the rest of the day to work out what Alex could have written that might put her off.
The next day the waitress brought in the morning paper.The Herald’s food critic Alex Jefferson had reviewed Jo’s café.
“What did she say?” the waitress tried to read over Jo’s shoulder.
“She said the Risotto was cooked to perfection” Jo dialled Alex’s number.
Copyright © 2021 Lily Lawson