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BF-26: David (Chapter 03)

Finally, they were alone together in the booth. It wasn’t an I-Hop, but pancakes were pretty much a horse apiece when it came to late-night dining. Kayleigh looked nervous. And any relief she may have felt from the waitress’s brief presence disappeared the moment she returned to the kitchen.

“So…” Dave said slurredly. “How long have you worked at Rick’s?”

“I’ve been there a couple months,” she replied, eyes cast downward towards her teacup.

“A couple months,” he continued. “So what did you do before that?”

“I worked as a nurse aid in the psych ward downtown,” she said matter-of-fact.

“Oh wow,” he said with surprise. “I bet that was… interesting.”

“Very.”

After a moment of silence, he asked “So why did you leave?”

“Excuse me?”

“Why did you leave? Your job as a nurse aid? I bet it paid really well,” he said emphatically. “To put up with all the nuts in there.”

“Yeah, I did alright,” she said modestly.

“Alright,” he snorted, raising an eyebrow. “So you’ve gotta tell me some stories. I’m sure you’ve got dozens!”

“A few,” she said. “But I don’t like to talk about it. The people I looked after, they sick, weak, and vulnerable – and it was my job to be there for them and protect their privacy. I still take that obligation very seriously.”

She was now looking him dead in the eyes – which he might have enjoyed if the look hadn’t been tainted with a slight twinge of disdain.

An awkward silence fell between them as they stared silently at each other.

“So…”

“Yeah.”

“Stuff.”

“And things.”

The waitress reappeared with their beverages, breaking the silence.

“Here is a glass of water,” she said, sliding the cup to Dave. “And hot tea with a slice of lemon,” she said with a smile.

“Thank you,” said Kayleigh.

“You’re welcome. Is there anything else I can get you before you meal?”

“Nope,” replied Kayleigh as she squeezed the lemon into her cup.

“Alright,” the waitress said. “Your order will be up soon.”

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