The Dinner Bell
The Hungry Hound was just starting to get busy when Judy walked in, and she had to wait for a table because the waitress was still wiping a couple of them down after their respective customers had left. The blonde picked her way through the crowd and pulled up a chair, opening the menu when it was placed on the table before her. She’d just get something light tonight, no carbs, not many calories. Then again, meatloaf was on special tonight. Maybe she’d splurge.
She got a glass of water to start off with, then placed her order. The Hound’s food was usually pretty good, and the place was decently priced. Admittedly it was a little rundown, but Judy didn’t mind that. She’d gotten used to the more rustic feel of Honfleur after a while, and really after the hustle and bustle of Atlanta this was an improvement. At least here she had a chance of knowing her neighbors.
She got an ice cube between her teeth, relished the crunch of it when she chewed it up. At least she could pretend to be following her diet, right?
GW was just finishing his plate of jambalaya, having come over to the Hound to get some dinner before heading into the city and the gig he had that night with the band.
The veteran liked Honfleur, the slow pace of life suited him and there were fewer people to worry about. Too many people caused problems, he still had to remind himself that nobody was running around with explosive vests packed with nails looking to blow themselves up, that the population was friendly. It was quiet at night too, which helped when he came home exhausted from playing into the wee hours at a hole in the wall someplace.
He noticed Judy Montague sit down at the table across from his and he nodded politely. The woman was a bit strange in his opinion, pandering to the new age crowd and all, but she was a nice person and Tainte Marie always said there were many different ways of approaching magic. “Miss Judy, how’s the book business doin’ today?”
“GW, hey!” Judy had to crane her neck to see around the waitress who had just returned with her dinner, and she lifted a hand in greeting to the former Marine. He had only been in the shop once, but she’d seen him around town often enough that they were passingly acquainted. It was always nice to see a familiar face over supper.
It didn’t hurt that that face was smoking hot. The man was enough to turn a girl’s head.
“The book business is doing just fine, thanks for asking,” she continued. “I did over five hundred dollars worth of sales today, and that’s not counting the credit cards. My accountant is going to love me this quarter.” If she didn’t give it all to the ASPCA, that was. “How’s the music world treating you?”
“A good day for sure, then!” GW smiled at the bookshop owner’s good fortune. “The music world is going ok, there’s good days and bad days, but as long as you keep your head above water you’re doing good right?” He smiled at his own expense and took a sip of his coke. “I’m about to head into the city, the band and I have a gig tonight down in the Quarter.”
“Ooh,. sounds like fun, where are you playing?” She’d been down to the Quarter a couple of times since being here; it was practically a rite of passage, but she didn’t get there often these days. Too busy with the store, too busy with life. The diner was growing crowded now, and the blonde glanced around before picking up her plate and carrying it over to GW’s table. She had never been shy before (and no one really complained much) so why stand on ceremony now?
“There. Now I don’t have to holler.”
GW raised an eyebrow but otherwise let the move go without comment. He would be on his way soon anyway. “Patout’s Cajun Cabin. The place is a bit of a tourist trap, but most of the quarter can be that way and it’ll get us some exposure outside of just the dance hall circuit. We start at nine thirty, we’re all looking forward to it.”
“Well, I wish you good luck with it, I know you must’ve worked hard to get this far,” Judy said, lifting her water glass in a mock toast. “I remember going on stage on opening nights, it was totally nerve-wracking. Worth it, but nerve-wracking. Do you ever get stage fright?”
“Stage fright?” GW blinked at the question and thought about it for a moment before shaking his head. “Non. I first got up on stage when I was ten, so stage fright isn’t an issue much for me anymore.” Not that he didn’t get nervous nowadays with so many people being confined to one spot, but the skills he’d been learning through the VA helped manage his unease. “More just wanting to make sure we knock their socks off, you know?”
“Somehow I doubt you’ve got a problem with that,” the blonde observed with a smile before cutting into her meatloaf. “Underpants being thrown at you is more like it, I’m sure.” She waved the forkful of meat around before adding, “Not that anyone could be blamed for that, mind you. I mean, c’mon, look at you. A big hunk of man like you probably has problems just walking down the street without getting mobbed.”
“Heh.” GW’s face colored ever so slightly in embarrassment at the words. He knew women found him attractive, and he liked them just fine that was certain, but he’d had issues to work through lately. “I’m no Tom Jones, Miss Judy. Just a good ol’ Cajun boy trying to make a living. Most folks are too busy dancing to go tossing anything, let alone underwear.”
And she did love the way he called her ‘Miss Judy’. Almost courtly of him, really. And he blushed. When was the last time she’d seen a man blush? Long enough ago that she wanted to see it again, maybe. Judy finished off her first bite of meatloaf, shifted in her chair to get more comfortable.
“Tom Jones is old compared to you,” she said, pointing her empty fork at the ex-Marine. “I’m sure its just a matter of time before you get the recognition you deserve. Who could resist a good dancing tune?”
“I appreciate the support.” He told her, meaning it. He flagged the waitress down and handed her back the bill along with a few bills to cover the meal and the tip. “It was nice talking to you Miss Judy, but I’ve got to get going.”
“Have a good night, GW, maybe next time I’ll be able to see you play,” Judy responded cheerfully, thinking that the Cajun was just about the most polite man she’d met in a while. And that accent.....le sigh. Next time, she could work on seeing that telltale redness around his cheeks again. Next time.