I must be in the mood for a romantic comedy…
“Can we stop at the next fast food place so I can go to the bathroom?” Carl complained from the back seat.
“No way,” Trina said. “I can’t get all of these layers off to go to the bathroom, and I have to go too.” She met my eyes in the rearview mirror as the plastic octopus hanging from it dangled back and forth. “Don’t you dare stop.”
I cocked my head from one side to the other, then tapped my thumbs on the steering wheel.
“Jack, don’t you even think about it.” Trina’s voice grew dangerous.
I laughed in the face of danger on a daily basis, so I signaled and turned off the main road.
“No!” Trina cried.
“Look, sis, I wore this stupid outfit for you all night, and now I’m hungry. So we’re stopping.”
“But we had dinner.”
“I wouldn’t call a piece of meat the size of half an egg with fruit punch disguised as wine dinner,” Carl said.
“Agreed,” I said.
“Will you hurry?” Trina said, sounding like a three-year-old doing the pee-pee dance. “Like really hurry?”
“Or you could get out,” I said.
Rachel, the girl sitting in the front seat threw me a dark look. “She’s not taking that costume in there. And you’d better not get a single grease stain on yours.”
“It’s not mine,” I reminded her. “The two of you begged Carl and I to come so you could take couples pictures. This is the beginning of your payback to us.”
Carl laughed. “So true.”
I pulled into a parking spot and threw the car into park.
“You sure you don’t want to come in?” Carl asked Trina. I’d caught Carl staring at the results of a corset on my sister a couple of times tonight. We might have to have the “don’t date my best friend’s sister” talk later.
“No. Please hurry.”
Part of me wanted to walk as slowly as I could to the entrance, but considering what I was wearing, I wanted to get this over with.
The door pulled open with a slight squeak, and a rush of deep-fried goodness filled my nostrils. The diner at the Regency party had been less than satisfying. Carl bolted toward the bathrooms. “Do you want anything?” I asked.
“Get me a soda.” His words faded as he got farther away.
“Because you need more liquid in your system,” I said.
Lucky for us, it was late. And the place was almost deserted. One woman sat alone in the far corner, munching down fries and scrolling through her phone. A couple occupied another table, but they only had eyes—and hands—for each other.
I decided if I was going to be spotted in this ridiculous get-up, that I would at least make it look good. So I straightened my vest—er, waistcoat—fluffed my cravat, made sure my collar was brushing my jaw, then strode forward with my knee-high boots clicking on the floor.
I should have brought the walking stick thing.
The bored looking girl behind the counter saw me, and her eyes went wide. “Jack?”
Of course it was someone I knew. Unfortunately for me, after spending an evening with a bunch of people who ran around in Regency outfits playing out Regency dinner and garden scenarios for fun, I’d fallen into character. I walked up to the counter and bowed. “Sandi. So nice to see you.” I came up from my bow. “Are your parent’s well?”
Sandi and I had gone through school together. She was a band nerd, while I was a crazed athlete, but ever since we’d accidentally made a dry ice bomb for science class in junior high, we’d been friends.
She sniggered and did a curtsy. “They are well, thank you. How is your sister?”
Apparently Sandi had at least seen Pride and Prejudice before. “She is in the car, and under some distress.” I leaned forward. “She needs to use the privy, but did not want to do it here.”
“Understandable.” Sandi smiled. “What can I get you, my lord?”
I straightened and tapped a finger on my lips as I studied the menu. “Methinks I would like a large order of thine fries, a large Coke and a large Dr. Pepper.”
“Thine?” Sandi’s smile spread across her whole face. I’d never noticed that her nose wrinkled when she laughed. Nor did I notice the adorable freckles on her cheeks. Or the way her blue eyes lit up.
I was staring. I cleared my throat and raised an eyebrow. “Indeed.”
“Very well, my lord.” She did another curtsy and then typed my order into the computer. “Thine total is three of our dollars and one quarter.”
“Ah.” I reached inside my vest—waistcoat—and fished out my debit card. “Will this suffice?”
“Indeed,” she said.
Why did I notice that our fingers brushed when she took the card?
Why did I watch her the whole time she was running the order?
Why did I want her to smile at me again?
I shook my head. It must be this stupid costume.
The computer let out a pleasant dinging sound. Sandi handed my card back, along with my receipt. When I went to take the card, she held it fast until I looked into her alluring, blue eyes again.
“Next time you and your sister go to a regency dinner, count me in.”
I tugged on the card.
She smirked. “My lord.”
The card came free. I bowed. “My lady.”
Another worker handed me my order and I did the only thing a sensible young man worth at least five thousand a year should do.